Hispanic vote surfaces in Illinois primary

By Hannah Rank Voter turnout in the predominantly Hispanic communities in Chicago and its suburbs appears to be higher in Tuesday’s Illinois primaries than in the past. The numbers, which are still being analyzed, are consistent with the projections of some experts who anticipated that because immigrant issues have played a significant role in the […]

Strategists unpack voting blocs key to presidential election

By Hannah Rank Political strategists grappled Thursday night with the potential outcomes of this surprising presidential election, yet concluded it may be a more conventional race than believed; hopefuls on both sides of the aisle must ultimately engage a growing core of young voters and, most importantly, must engage people of color. “When you’re young, […]

For Puerto Ricans in Chicago, no one’s an island

By Hannah Rank and Rebekah Frumkin Jose López sits comfortably in his wicker chair as a February blizzard rages on outside, the wall behind him a collage of Puerto Rican literature and artifacts. When it comes to his homeland of Puerto Rico, López has clear ambitions. He wants his countrymen to decide for themselves what […]

Political leaders establish Puerto Rican agenda for 2016 elections

Puerto Rican elected officials

By Hannah Rank A quiet chatter filled the cafeteria of Aspira Business and Finance High School on Friday night. Loved ones and old friends greeted one another heartily. On a vaulted stage positioned on the other end of the room sat a group of seven chairs lined up in two rows. The chairs began to […]

Experts weigh implications of immigration in Chicago and U.S.

Immigration Conundrum Panel

By Hannah Rank Leaders in immigration research argued Friday that immigration has significant economic and demographic benefits for the city of Chicago. “What I’m seeing from my clients is that they are contributing to society regardless of what their immigration status is,” said Olga Rojas, chair of the Chicago chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers. […]

Medical marijuana has potential to reduce Puerto Rico’s debt

San Juan, Puerto Rico

By Hannah Rank Puerto Rico is about to welcome medical marijuana to the island.  The action, by executive order, could have potential economic benefits for the debt-ridden country. But it’s also recalling memories  of colonial exploitation. Drug policy activist Rafael Torruella, who is based in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, worries the budding industry will mirror other […]

Advocacy groups leverage growing Illinois Hispanic voting bloc

Naturalization Ceremony

By Hannah Rank The consistently growing population of Hispanics in Illinois, paired with an unprecedented number of eligible voters, have local activists involved in Hispanic outreach looking for ways to engage this voting bloc. “This is something we’ve been anticipating for a very long time,” Celina Villanueva, who runs voter engagement programming at the Illinois […]

Immigrant mother of deceased veteran fights to keep family together

Olivia Segura

By Hannah Rank Olivia Segura remembers it in bits and pieces. The before and after. Everything before hearing the news is clear and chronological. Everything after is hazy and nightmarish. [Listen to Olivia Segura tell her story below.] “They asked me if I had any sickness, if my heart was okay,” she recalls. “I knew […]

Grassroots organization hosts legal workshops to prevent expected deportations

Emma Lozano

By Hannah Rank As families filed into the chilly main auditorium of Pilsen’s Lincoln United Methodist Church last Saturday afternoon, signs reading “Holy Ground,” and “ICE Free Zone” lined the walls next to the pews. “They’re frightened,” Reverend Emma Lozano, founder of Centro Sin Fronteras, said. “A lot of people didn’t want to come today […]